Facing criminal allegations is a difficult predicament to be in. However, like anyone accused of a crime has the right to assert a criminal defense. For some, this can seem straightforward to them, as they acted in defense of him or herself. When faced with physical harm or a deadly weapon, one is able to meet the threat with a level of force to protect him or herself. However, this could result in harm to the aggressor and initial charges for assault.
Self-defense is considered to be a person’s right to guard against or prevent suffering caused by force or violence by using a sufficient level of counteracting force or violence. While this may seem straightforward, it is not always simple to establish whether someone in fact used self-defense or not.
Sufficient level of force
To begin, one needs to understand what a sufficient level of force. There is no exact definition of this, but is often based on the situation at hand. And with the question of whether sufficient force was used, there is also the question of whether too much force was used, if the individual claiming self-defense provoked the attack, whether retreating was possible and whether or not the threat existed and the apprehension of the threat was objectively reasonable.
Basis for self-defense
For self-defense to be legally permissible the threat needs to be imminent and the fear of harm needs to be reasonable. This means that the threat is immediate and the intended victim has an immediate fear of physical harm. Additionally, for the fear of harm to be reasonable, a reasonable person in the same position would have the same perception of immediate threat of physical harm.
This occurs when an individual has a genuine fear of imminent physical harm; however, it is objectively unreasonable. In other words, a person uses force to defend against a perceived threat. This could result in criminal charges for the use of violence; however, it could lessen the charges and penalties involved.
Facing criminal allegations is a difficult situation to be in, as criminal penalties could be significant for a violent crime. Thus, it is important to understand what defense options are available in order to protect your rights in the matter.